To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the budget for the Residential Tenancies Board in each of the years 2011 to 2017 and to date in 2018.
The Residential Tenancies Board’s (RTB) funding is derived primarily from a proportion of the fee income accruing from tenancy registrations, as set down by Ministerial Order. This income was intended to enable the RTB to move to an entirely self-financing position in 2010. However, due to a deterioration in the RTB’s finances as a result of reduced registrations, a growing demand for RTB services and new functions under amendments made to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, it has become necessary to provide direct Exchequer funding to supplement fee income.
Section 176 of the Residential Tenancies Act provides that the fees received by the Residential Tenancies Board under the Act shall be paid into, or disposed of for the benefit of, the Exchequer in such manner as I, as Minister, may direct. By various Ministerial Directions since 2005, a percentage of fees received by the RTB under the Act has been allocated for transfer to local authorities for the purpose of the performance of their functions under the Housing Acts in relation to private rental standards inspections. Since 1 July 2016, the RTB retains the entirety of the fees received under the Act to defray its costs.
Demand for the RTB’s services has increased significantly, due to the increasing size of the rental sector and also because of the changing regulatory structure. Furthermore, a number of additional functions have been added to the remit of the RTB since 2016, including:
- implementation of new Rent Predictability Measures, such as the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones and associated on-going analysis,
- increased engagement with the Approved Housing Body (AHB) Sector,
- integration of Rent Tribunal functions into the RTB,
- introduction of Free Mediation Services,
- development of a voluntary Landlord Accreditation Scheme,
- establishment of a one-stop shop,
- establishment of one-person Tribunals,
- increased Education/Awareness and research role, and
- consideration and analysis in respect of a Deposit Protection Scheme.
In 2016, my Department provided some €668,000 in Exchequer funding to the RTB. €170,000 of this amount was a requirement that arose outside of the 2016 Estimates process during the year, for an advertising campaign carried out by the RTB in quarter 1 2016, highlighting changes on foot of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
In 2017, Exchequer funding of €2,329,000 was paid by my Department to the RTB. Included in this amount was €265,000 additional funding outside of the Estimates process in 2017, that arose during the year in respect of :
1. the provision of Fire Safety leaflets to all landlords to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and obligations in respect of fire safety requirements - €107,200;
2. €112,000 in respect of an Auto-address Eircoding project which was required to support the roll-out of the Rent Pressure Zone measure; and
3. Legal costs - €46,000.
RTB drawdown of Exchequer funding to date in 2018 amounts to €2.355m (from the overall allocation of €5.341m for 2018), primarily to support the operational costs of the RTB’s core functions and the additional powers and functions to be rolled out to the RTB over a multi-annual change period which will empower the RTB by giving it the necessary powers and resources to protect tenants and landlords in the residential rental sector.
Details of the RTB’s own self-financing income and expenditure can be found in the RTB Annual Report and Financial Statements at the following link: https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/rtb-publications/.
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